Reversion to Islam is a beautiful thing that we all celebrate. When someone becomes Muslim, they are immediately accepted as part of this larger Umma, ma sha Allah, something we all should hold dear.
What is often happening behind the scenes for some reverts, along with that joy, is a real struggle to live their new life as a Muslim. Because Islam is a faith that provides an entire system of life from how to pray to how to interact with the opposite sex to how to use the bathroom, reverts face a steep learning curve in their efforts to change their lives.
As a revert myself, alhamdulillah, I am grateful that I was able to tackle things as they came, slowly gaining more knowledge and understanding. This continues until today. Nonetheless, at times the path was difficult, and I came to understand that those challenges are just a part of our time here in dunya.
We know from the Quran that we will be tested. Allah tells us:
أَحَسِبَ ٱلنَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوٓا۟ أَن يَقُولُوٓا۟ ءَامَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
Do people think they will be left to say “we believe,” and not be tested? (Quran 29:2)
Here are some of the things that can help during that time:
1. Your past is just that. As with the Sahaba themselves (may Allah be pleased with them), a lot of us have done things before Islam that we sincerely regret. There’s no need to feel that you don’t deserve to be where you are because of your past errors. What’s important to remember is that that’s your past, not your present. It doesn’t have to define you, nor does it even count against you in the eyes of Allah (SWT), because it came before Islam. Take a deep breath, try your best to honor what Allah has guided you to and what you have chosen, and the believer you want to become.
2. There’s always more to learn. And what a beautiful thing that is. Get stuck in. Enjoy new habits, like reading the Quran daily. Join a halaqah (religious learning circle), learn some tajweed with a friend. Ask questions. Get involved.
3. When you have big questions, seek out people who know more than you. Preferably a lot more. It is of vital importance to look for guidance from those who honor the Quran, the Sunnah, and the agreed upon opinions of our scholars. There are things in Islam that are pretty clear, like wearing hijab and not drinking alcohol. There are other areas, however, where you’ll find you have a very specific question based on your very specific context. Ask people whom you trust are sincere in their faith to point you in the direction of someone who can help.
4. Recall the importance of intention. When you are starting from zero, trying to build your new life as a Muslim person, you not only do not know that much, it may also just be hard to change certain things quickly. Recall Allah’s mercy, recall that you’re judged in large part based on your intentions (انما الاعمال بالنيات). Keep moving forward.
5. For sisters: Depending on your personality, wearing hijab can feel pretty strange at first. More specifically, peoples’ reactions to you—particularly those who knew you before—may feel uncomfortable. That is normal. Remember why you’re wearing it (for Allah), and just try your best to take it one day at a time. Eventually, you’ll look back on those moments of awkwardness as fleeting. There’s no way but through it.